Good urinary tract health is essential for your cat’s overall health. Many cats are prone to urinary tract infections. However, their owners may not even know it because cats are good at hiding their illnesses. Chronic urinary tract problems can cause bladder problems and other serious complications.
Many cats don’t drink enough water, which can cause dehydration and increase the likelihood of urinary tract problems. Diet can play a role in keeping a cat hydrated, as wet foods often contain quite a bit of extra moisture. Different minerals can also affect urinary tract health.
In this article, we review several foods that may improve urinary tract health. Many of these are best for cats with urinary tract problems, though older felines and those recovering from urinary tract infections may benefit from them as well.
Disclaimer: The foods reviewed here were chosen because they have certain characteristics that might help with some of the causes or consequences of this medical condition. However, they are not a medical treatment or a substitute for medical treatment. Keep in mind that each medical case is different and what works for some pets may not work for others. Your veterinarian is the right person to advise you on the best diet for your pet’s individual case.
A Glance at Our Favorites in 2024
|Smalls Fresh Cat Food Subscription
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|Purina ONE Urinary Tract Health Dry Cat Food
|Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Urinary SO Dry Cat Food
|Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Urinary SO Canned Cat Food
|Hill's Prescription Diet Urinary Care
The 11 Best Cat Foods for Urinary Tract Health
1. Smalls Fresh Cat Food Subscription – Best Overall
Smalls is undeniably our top choice for the best cat food for urinary tract health. It ticks off all the right boxes: rich in moisture, whole meat ingredients, and texture options for both finicky eaters and those with dental issues. Cats with urinary cat issues need food with lots of moisture. This brand has it in spades thanks to its use of human-grade fresh meat, which has a higher water content than kibble.
The Smalls cat food brand also has a low ash content. Ash is an inorganic mineral component that happens when the organic part of the food gets burnt off. This is important because foods with a high ash content can increase the pH of your cat’s urine, making them more susceptible to urinary tract infections.
The ingredient list is short and impressive, too. Depending on the recipe you choose, your cat’s meal will include good stuff like chicken thigh, breast, liver, heart, beef, or turkey. Aside from being rich in moisture, these ingredients are also packed with protein and nutrients that are essential to your cat’s health.
Another benefit is that this cat food comes in both minced-style and classic pate recipes. This means that there’s an option for every kind of eater, whether they prefer their food in chunks or smooth and creamy. Finally, Smalls cat food is subscription-based and ready to serve, which means you’ll never have to worry about running out of food or dealing with kitty meal prep. It is more expensive than your traditional kibble and might not be available in your area, but for those who can get it, it is well worth the investment in your cat’s health.
2. Purina ONE Urinary Tract Health Dry Cat Food – Best Value
Purina is known as a budget company. However, its ONE line is exceptionally high-quality while remaining inexpensive. For cats with urinary problems, Purina ONE Urinary Tract Health Dry Cat Food is a solid option. This food is formulated with low magnesium, which can prevent the creation of bladder stones and similar problems. This brand adds antioxidants, which may help prevent urinary problems. As a pH-reducing food, this can also keep infections at bay.
However, this food does have lower-quality ingredients than other options. This is one of the reasons that Purina can keep the food’s cost so low. The first ingredient is corn gluten meal, with the second being whole ground corn. Corn is a starchy vegetable and is often considered a grain. Cats do not need it to thrive, though it does provide a few nutrients. However, cats can have difficulty absorbing and using nutrients from plants like corn, so it likely isn’t doing much for your cat’s nutrition.
Chicken is included as the third ingredient. This is a high-quality option and suitable if your feline is not allergic to chicken. This is the best cat food for urinary tract health for the money.
3. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Urinary SO Dry Cat Food
For cats with serious problems, you may want to consider Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Urinary SO Dry Cat Food. It was developed specifically to support your cat’s digestive tract, making it unfavorable to the formation of struvite and calcium oxalate crystals. It can increase the amount of urine that your cat produces, which flushes out your cat’s urinary tract system and prevents urinary crystals and stones from forming. This formula also includes lower levels of magnesium. This prevents stones from forming and can even dissolve stones that have already formed.
This does require a veterinary prescription, so it is only available to felines with diagnoses of urinary tract problems.
Chicken by-product meal is the first ingredient in this cat food. It is a decent-quality ingredient. By-products are simply the parts of the chicken that usually aren’t consumed by humans. Many of these include organ meats, which are actually quite nutritious. It may also include feathers and other pieces with little to no nutrition, though.
This food also contains a few low-quality ingredients, like brewer’s rice, corn, and corn gluten meal. This ups the protein content of the food but with low-quality protein. Keep this in mind when you look at the seemingly high amount of protein in this food.
To conclude, this is our third pick for the best cat food for urinary health available this year.
4. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Urinary SO Canned Cat Food – Best Canned Food
The Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Urinary SO Canned Cat Food is Royal Canin’s canned version of its urinary support food. It includes many of the same things that their dry food does, including low magnesium to prevent the formation of bladder stones. It also increases the amount of urine that your cat produces in order to flush out any extra minerals and prevent further stones from forming.
It also uses RSS techniques to lower the ion concentration in urine. Ions may contribute to the formation of kidney stones. Lowering the number of these may prevent future problems.
This food includes decent ingredients. Water is the first one, which is normal for wet food. Pork by-products, pork liver, and chicken by-products are next on the list. These are so-so ingredients. By-products are the parts of the animal that usually aren’t consumed by people. This can include everything from nutritious organ meats to nutrition-less feathers.
There are also other high-quality ingredients included throughout, such as chicken and pork plasma. It is high in protein due to all the animal ingredients.
When it comes to wet cat food, we think this is the best cat food for urinary tract health available.
5. Hill’s Prescription Diet Urinary Care Dry Cat Food
Hill’s Prescription Diet Urinary Care Dry Cat Food is a solid option for cats with urinary tract problems. It does require a veterinarian prescription and is a robust food for cats with severe problems. This food has controlled levels of magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus. It is enriched with antioxidants and supports overall health. Omega fatty acids are added, as there is evidence that they may support urinary tract health overall, though the exact reason is not fully understood.
This cat urinary food is safe to eat for the long term, unlike many urinary tract medications. In fact, it is essential for preventing bladder stones from forming and encouraging urinary tract health. This food can even dissolve existing stones in a short period, which is far better than surgical interventions. It is also designed to balance the urine pH, which may help prevent infections and similar issues.
The ingredients in this urinary health cat food are so-so, however. The first ingredient is chicken, which is a high-quality option. However, whole-grain corn, corn gluten meal, whole-grain wheat, and brewer’s rice are also high on the ingredient list. These are generally lower quality options, as they are all grains. Cats do not need grains to thrive, and they don’t provide much for a cat’s nutrition. While the addition of things like gluten raises the protein level, this added protein is low-quality and plant-based. Cats can have difficulties absorbing and using nutrients from plants.
6. Hill’s Prescription Diet Urinary Care Canned Cat Food
The Hill’s Prescription Diet Urinary Care Canned Cat Food is a decent option for those cats with urinary tract problems. It does require a prescription, so it is only for felines that need serious help keeping their urinary tract in check. It promotes a healthy pH to prevent infections and stones. It also has reduced levels of multiple minerals, including magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus. It can even dissolve some stones in as little as 7 days and reduce the formation of other stones.
Enriched antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids are included. These may help support your feline’s immune system and prevent further problems from developing. Both these ingredients are thought to reduce inflammation, which does play a role in urinary tract problems. It can be fed for the long term, unlike other urinary medications.
The ingredients are good, though they could be better. It includes pork by-products as the first ingredient. This is decent quality, but it isn’t the best option out there. By-products can include nutritious organ meats that people typically wouldn’t consume or include nutrition-less feathers and similar parts.
Other ingredients are included, such as pork liver and chicken. Some grains and low-quality plants are added, such as brewer’s rice, corn starch, and soybean meal. Some of these add extra protein to the food, though it is lower-quality protein because it comes from plant sources.
7. Purina Pro Plan Focus Urinary Tract Health Canned Cat Food
The Purina Pro Plan Focus Urinary Tract Health Canned Cat Food is inexpensive compared to most urinary health cat foods. It includes a low amount of magnesium to prevent bladder stones and reduce your cat’s pH. It is produced in the U.S.A. in a Purina-owned facility to ensure the quality and safety of the final food.
While this food does include many of the features and nutrients that other urinary tract foods include, many of the ingredients are low-quality.
The first ingredient is water, which is to be expected with a wet food. The main issue is that the second ingredient is meat by-products. This is the lowest quality meat available. It’s the parts of the meat that are left over after processing (the parts that humans won’t eat). This can be both a good and bad thing. Many of the leftover parts are nutrient-dense, but many are not. Secondly, the source is unnamed. We don’t know what kind of meat it is. Therefore, it could be anything.
There are other low-quality ingredients included as well, such as wheat gluten and corn starch-modified. These are fillers that simply add carbohydrates and protein to the formula.
8. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Urinary Dry Cat Food
The Hill’s Science Diet Adult Urinary Dry Cat Food doesn’t require a prescription like this company’s other urinary tract cat food. It provides the optimal level of magnesium, which can prevent future stones from developing. It includes high levels of fiber to ensure that the food is digestible and easy on your cat’s stomach. The antioxidant blend may help prevent future urinary tract problems, such as infections and bladder stones.
Made in the U.S.A., this food provides a completely balanced diet for adult cats. It is not specifically designed for senior cats, though it will meet all their nutritional needs.
The ingredients in this cat food are fine, though they could be better. Chicken is the first ingredient and a high-quality option for many cats. It provides the fat and protein that your feline needs to thrive. Whole grain wheat and corn gluten meal are high on the ingredient list. These are not necessary for your feline’s health. They are whole grain, though, which is better than refined grains for your cat’s nutritional needs. Both add quite a bit of protein to the formula, which you need to keep in mind when looking at the overall protein content.
9. Iams ProActive Health Urinary Tract Health Dry Cat Food
Compared to other cat foods, Iams ProActive Health Urinary Tract Health Dry Cat Food is exceptionally inexpensive. It is formulated specifically for urinary tract health. It can reduce the pH of your cat’s urine and includes vitamin E for the maintenance of a healthy immune system. Calcium and potassium are also added.
The ingredients are so-so. The first one is chicken, which is about as high-quality as you can get. The second is chicken by-product meal. This isn’t an awful ingredient because it can include nutritious parts of the animal. However, it can also include non-nutritional parts as well. “Meal” simply means that the chicken has been cooked down and dehydrated, which is essential when you’re making a dry urinary cat food.
However, there are quite a few non-meat products as well. Ground whole-grain corn, corn grits, and brewer’s rice are included in high amounts. These are low-quality products when feeding our cats, as they are meant to live off mostly meat. These add a host of protein to the food, though it is much lower quality than meat-derived protein.
10. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Urinary Formula Dry Cat Food
Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Urinary Formula Dry Cat Food requires a prescription. It is also more expensive than many other options, likely because it is a prescription diet. It is specifically formulated to reduce the risk of stones in cats, not necessarily to help prevent infections and other common problems. It can promote an increased urine output, though it is a dry food and doesn’t offer any other moisture to the cat’s diet. It can dissolve some existing stones and prevent new ones from forming in the future.
The ingredients in this food are quite low-quality. Corn gluten meal is the first ingredient. This offers low-quality protein, as it is a gluten extract of corn. However, cats often have difficulty using nutrients that are in plant-based foods. Plant proteins also don’t include all the amino acids that your feline needs to thrive.
Chicken is included as the second ingredient, followed by poultry by-product meal as the third. Both of these are meat ingredients that are essential for any feline. However, poultry by-product meal is a bit lower-quality than we would like. This meat may include high-quality options, but it may also include low-quality animal pieces, including feathers.
11. Wysong Uretic Dry Cat Food
While the Wysong Uretic Dry Cat Food does have good reviews, it doesn’t meet all the nutritional components for a urinary health cat food. This cat food includes added nutrients. For instance, rosemary extract is added to help fight allergies. It also has things like prebiotics, probiotics, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants. Many of these things are essential for cats, even if they don’t necessarily help with urinary tract health.
This urinary tract cat food is just over the average cost. It isn’t the most expensive option out there, but it does cost a bit more than many other options.
The ingredients are of decent quality. Chicken, chicken meal, and chicken fat are the first three ingredients. All of these are high-quality and add many of the things that your cat needs to their diet.
This food does include lower quality options. For instance, potato protein is the fourth ingredient. This adds plant-based protein to the formula, which is lower-quality than animal protein. The protein content is 42%, which is relatively high. However, most of this is plant-based. Brown rice and peas are included as well, which aren’t necessarily suitable for cats.
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Cat Food for Urinary Health
Choosing a urinary cat food for a feline can be difficult, especially if your feline has an underlying health problem that needs to be offset by diet, such as chronic urinary tract infections, cystitis, or stones. Many cats with common urinary tract problems are diagnosed with FLUTD, which stands for feline lower urinary tract disease. Felines with this problem have reoccurring bacterial bladder infections, develop urinary crystals, and have inflammation in their urinary tract.
This problem is more severe in males, as it can cause urinary blockage and be life-threatening. Females are more prone to bacterial infections, but they don’t suffer blockages as often.
Diet can often be used to manage these problems, though it isn’t the end-all of treatment. Often, different medications and supplements are needed as well.
Supplements & Nutrients That Support Cat Urinary Tract Health
Many supplements have been recommended for cats prone to developing stones and infections. However, not all of these are backed up by science. Cranberry is often suggested, as it can be helpful for humans. However, we don’t know if it affects cats in the same way. There is anecdotal evidence that it may be helpful, but we don’t have any definite evidence that makes a significant difference.
Vitamin C may also be helpful, and many cat foods for urinary health have added vitamin C. It is thought to provide an acidifying effect on the cat’s urine, lowering the number of stones that develop. Often, brands that claim to be changing the cat’s urine pH are using extra vitamin C.
Cats that are dehydrated are more likely to develop urinary problems, as their urine will be more complicated. Therefore, foods with more moisture can also be helpful. Canned food is often recommended for this reason, as it is naturally higher in moisture than dry food.
Reduced minerals may also be helpful, as these are the things that can cause stones to develop and concentrate the cat’s urine. Reduced protein may also be suggested, as too much protein can upset the kidneys in some cats.
Prescription vs Over-the-Counter
There are many prescription diets available. These are usually more expensive because they require more research to develop. However, there are also quite a few over-the-counter options that are available. These may even be made by the same companies that create prescription diets.
If your cat has a diagnosed disorder, it probably isn’t that difficult for you to get a prescription urinary cat food, and you’ll want to ensure you get the best urinary tract cat food for your feline friend. Many websites make it reasonably easy, and some vets may even sell different brands of prescription foods at their clinics.
Prescription foods require extensive testing before they are accepted. They are measured based on how likely a stone will form. This is referred to as the “relative supersaturation”. Non-prescription diets often don’t go through this sort of testing, so it is impossible to figure out how well they work.
You have to weigh the benefits of further testing with the extra cost of the food and come to your own decision.
Feeding your cat a high-quality diet is important for keeping them healthy and happy. But it goes beyond the food you choose; the dishes they use also matter. The Hepper NomNom Cat Bowl is our favorite for its unique, five-star design that protects from whisker fatigue and promotes good posture which also aids in better digestion. As an added bonus, it’s beautifully crafted and offers a modern take on the traditional cat bowl that fits seamlessly with all home stylings. Learn more about the NomNom by clicking here.
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There are quite a few good urinary cat foods for urinary health out there. Our favorite is Smalls Fresh Cat Food. It includes controlled levels of many different minerals to ensure that your feline’s chance of developing bladder stones is low. Real proteins are the first ingredients, and many essential nutrients are added, such as omega fatty acids.
For those on a budget, Purina ONE Urinary Tract Health Dry Cat Food for urinary health is a solid option. It provides low magnesium and other nutrients and has added antioxidants and omega fatty acids. Chicken is the first ingredient. Plus, it is much less expensive than much of the competition.
We hope that our reviews and buyer’s guide helped you figure out the best option for your feline. Choosing a urinary tract health food for your feline may seem complicated, but there are only a few simple things to look for.
- Urinary Blockage in Cats: Causes, Symptoms, and Care (Vet Answer)
- 13 Natural Home Remedies to Treat Cat UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections)
Featured Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock
- A Glance at Our Favorites in 2024
- The 11 Best Cat Foods for Urinary Tract Health
- 1. Smalls Fresh Cat Food Subscription – Best Overall
- 2. Purina ONE Urinary Tract Health Dry Cat Food – Best Value
- 3. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Urinary SO Dry Cat Food
- 4. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Urinary SO Canned Cat Food – Best Canned Food
- 5. Hill’s Prescription Diet Urinary Care Dry Cat Food
- 6. Hill’s Prescription Diet Urinary Care Canned Cat Food
- 7. Purina Pro Plan Focus Urinary Tract Health Canned Cat Food
- 8. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Urinary Dry Cat Food
- 9. Iams ProActive Health Urinary Tract Health Dry Cat Food
- 10. Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Urinary Formula Dry Cat Food
- 11. Wysong Uretic Dry Cat Food
- Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Cat Food for Urinary Health